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Showing posts from November, 2017

Kenjutsu - Forward Guards, Backward Guards, Meeting in Chudan & Kendo

In the last two posts I have simply shown some European longsword guards and compared them to Katori Shinto Ryu guards - this in itself doesn't really say anything much - so what was the point?  The point is to undermine the idea of both parties coming into sword contact in forward (especially chudan/seigan) guards and then beginning to fight. This is often seen in Kendo shiai, Kendo kata and Kenjutsu kata - but we have to be careful of how we interpret these observations. It should be noted that in European longsword guards are not simply positions to fight from but also transitional positions - it might seem strange to have an extended middle guard but if one thrusts that position is encountered and so the theory is movement from that position is required, be it to defend, attack or counter. It is notable how many of these guards are backward or withdrawn. If the progression of European fighting styles is followed the swords developed much better hand protection and the guards ca

German Longsword Guards & Kenjutsu

There is a good deal of information on Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) available these days - one excellent resource is  Wiktenauer  from which the longsword images below are taken. Continuing on from the previous post on Italian longsword guards, here I would like to look at the guards shown in Joachim Meyer 's Gr├╝ndtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens - and pick out some similar guards within Katori Shinto Ryu. It should be noted that just because a similar position may be utilised, that does not mean the actions are similar.  It is however interesting to make some sort of comparison, if only for fun.  Note for the most part Meyers guards are used left and right. Stills taken from a Katori Shinto Ryu demonstration are from a video by Kendo World . Ox Plough Roof Fool Wrath Long Point Change Barrier Hanging Point Key Unicorn

Italian Longsword Guards & Kenjutsu

There is a good deal of information on Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) available these days - one excellent resource is Wiktenauer from which the longsword images below are taken. Like Japanese koryu the sword and close quarter fighting make up the bulk of the material.  One of the interesting parts of European martial arts is that the practitioners work from original source material rather than following a tradition that is handed down.  It is an interesting basis compared to the continual transmission of Japanese koryu. It is unrealistic to think the majority of koryu were not evolved continuously during the Tokugawa or even the Meiji periods.  In many instances, this refinement is what sets the Japanese arts apart.  There is no in without yo however, and in some cases refinements can equal mistakes. In terms of this material - there is still scope for a lot of research.  Some of the historic works on German and Italian longsword are shockingly sophisticated, and some practi